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Utah State Board of Education, teachers union oppose school voucher bill

Young students sitting at desks and referencing books for a drawing. A young Black child is the focus of the shot.

The Utah State Board of Education voted Monday against HB 215, which would raise teacher salaries and create a school voucher program using public funds for students to attend private schools. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Candice Pierucci (R-Herriman), would use $42 million of taxpayer money to give $8,000 to students as part of the “Utah Fits All Scholarship” program. That money could go for private schooling, homeschooling and tutoring.

Board members raised issues such as a lack of student data privacy, frustration from educators and schools for not separating the educator salary increases from the scholarship program, and questions of program oversight. The Utah Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, also opposed the bill.

The bill was passed by the Utah House on Friday by a 54-20 vote and got a favorable recommendation from the Senate committee. Next is going to the full Senate for discussion.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.